In his first Skype conversation, Seventh-day Adventist world church President Ted N. C. Wilson addressed young church members in Malaysia last month.
From a family home in Loma Linda, California, Wilson offered Malaysian young people a message of encouragement.
"If you're facing challenges and you're tempted to become discouraged, the Lord is saying, 'Don't be discouraged, for in your weakness you can become strong if you depend on me,'" Wilson said, referencing 2 Corinthians 12, in which Paul finds strength through God to deal with a personal difficulty.
"Remember that next time you face challenges," Wilson told the audience in Taiping on August 29 for the Adventist Church's first youth congress in Peninsular Malaysia.
The religious liberty situation in Malaysia is among challenges Adventists there face. While the majority Muslim country in Southeast Asia promotes a tolerant, progressive form of Islam, minority religions can still face anti-proselytizing laws, censorship and property damage.
"I know that God is guiding you in Malaysia. You have challenging times, but I thank God for the freedom of religion that the government of Malaysia does provide its citizens," Wilson said.
Political problems, natural disasters and the global economic downturn are all indicators of Jesus' soon return, Wilson said, urging young Adventist Malaysians to embrace the world church's Revival and Reformation initiative, which includes regular prayer for God's spirit.
Before Jesus returns, "the spirit and power of God will be poured out upon his children," Wilson said, reading from church co-founder Ellen G. White's book The Great Controversy.
"I'm actually reading from my iPhone," Wilson said, holding up the mobile device. "I have the bible, the Spirit of Prophecy and the Sabbath School lessons on my iPhone. You folks are a lot further ahead than I am, so I'm preaching to the choir," Wilson said amid laughter from the audience.
The idea of Skyping the world church president was a young member's suggestion, said Allan Yap, who was among organizers of the event.
Wilson encouraged young Adventist Malaysians to spend time in prayer during their youth congress. "You're going to find that God is going to fill your lives with so much power that you're going to be used in a most miraculous way," he said.
"There's nothing more powerful than a group of young Seventh-day Adventists who are committed to Jesus, humbling themselves and allowing God to work through them," Wilson said. Don't let anything "distract you from the real purpose God has for you," he added.
"Even though you might not be a huge group of people, God can use you like he did Gideon's band. If he can use 300 people to completely put in disarray the enemy, God can use you in a dramatic and powerful way at the very end of time," he said.
"We believe in you, and I know that God will bless you," Wilson said.
More than 5,000 Adventists worship in 25 churches in Peninsular Malaysia.